There is no denying the role that Tiktok and its community have played in shaping the course of music history in recent years. From popularising lesser-known songs like Creator K, Tiktok dancers being featured in actual videos like Doja Cat’s ‘Say So’, and, let’s face it… any smart label is now angling their pop songs toward Tiktok compatibility. So, it should come as no surprise that the Tiktok community may well have just influenced recent songwriting credits on Olivia Rodrigo’s pop-punk hit of the summer, ‘Good 4 U’.
Three months after the single’s release, Olivia Rodrigo has given Paramore’s Haley Williams and Josh Farro co-writing credits, and many are questioning Tiktok’s role. Ever since the release of Sour, Rodrigo’s record-breaking, debut studio album, parallels between ‘Good 4 U’ and Paramore’s 2007 classic ‘Misery Business’ were raised, including countless mashups and apparent exposés by suspicious Paramore fans.
You can hear both the melodic and harmonic similarities in this Tiktok mashup, and there is no denying that Rodrigo is giving the same Paramore-esque pop-punk energy.
Since, the listing for ‘Good 4 U’ on the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, has been updated to include Hayley Williams and Josh Farro in the songwriting credits, with ‘Good 4 U’ acknowledged as an interpolation of Paramore’s ‘Misery Business’.
‘Interpolation’ has become a pretty hot buzzword in the music industry in recent years, often appearing in lawsuits between artists fighting the line between inspiration and theft. If you need a quick reminder, an interpolation is not to be mistaken for a sample, where a portion of one recorded song is used directly in another – think Chaka Khan’s ‘Through the Fire’ sampled in Kanye West’s ‘Through the Wire’. An interpolation, however, is when the melody or portion of the melody is used by re-recording, rather than sampling it directly. Ariana Grande’s ‘7 Rings’ is a perfect example of an interpolation, using the classic melody of ‘My Favourite Things’ with her own lyrics and spin.
Perhaps at the heart of her success are her interpolations, subconsciously serving up nostalgia to her millions of listeners.
Unlike Ariana Grande, who gave 90% of the songwriting credits to the writers of ‘My Favourite Things’ before the release of her single, it would appear that Rodrigo’s songwriting credits were only just given to Paramore. This was flagged by an Instagram story posted by Rodrigo’s label, Warner Chappell Music on Tuesday (24 Aug), which both celebrated ‘Good 4 U’ reaching Number One in the US, as well as giving a ‘Huge shoutout to our writers Hayley Williams and Joshua Farro’. Williams reposted the story, with the note: “Our publisher is wildin’ rn”.
‘Good 4 U’ isn’t the only interpolation on Rodrigo’s album – Taylor Swift and writers were retroactively given songwriting credits on ‘Deja Vu’, another of Rodrigo’s top 10 hits, to acknowledging the track as an interpolation of Swift’s ‘Cruel Summer’. They are also credited as co-writers on another track on Rodrigo’s album, ‘1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back’ – an interpolation of Taylor Swift’s ‘New Year’s Day’.
Rodrigo and her team may well have cracked the code to chart success, with her debut studio album Sour breaking the world record for the biggest opening week for an album by a female artist in global Spotify history. She was also the first artist in history to debut her first two singles inside the Top 10.
The TikTok community continue to be hot on the heels of the music industry, and as a record label, they are a community you want firmly on your side.
Perhaps at the heart of her success are her interpolations, subconsciously serving up nostalgia to her millions of listeners. We may never know whether or not the songwriting credits were given to Paramore as a result of the attention it received on TikTok, but we can know one thing for sure, and that is that the TikTok community continue to be hot on the heels of the music industry, and as a record label, they are a community you want firmly on your side.